If you have not yet heard, it’s official – at least for the time being according to the NOAA Climate Prediction Center, the forecasted El Nino influence has drifted into La Nada. In other words, there is currently little or no significant ENSO influence on our winter this season. For those not in the know, ENSO can directly influence western snowpacks – read our archived ENSO article. The lack of a significant El Nino or La Nina influence actually means that long-term forecasting is even trickier than normal. When we have a significant ENSO influence, the climate folks seem to find it easier to forecast long-term trends. The absence of the influence means it’s even more of a dice roll than normal! Average winters in these parts can be pretty good, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed as the snowpack starts to grow.
Following in the theme of global weather wierdness, Hurricane Sandy delivered a snow storm for the record books in West Virginia while it was devestating the barrier islands of the coast. Our friend Chipper Chase, dedicated ski freak and long-time proprietor of White Grass in West Virginia’s Canaan Valley, saw a record early opening and a host of dedicated ski freaks descend upon White Grass thanks to the nearly three feet of snow that Sandy delivered. Here’s to global weather wierdness in the name of freak snowstorms!
Despite having lost power and less than ideal road conditions, Chip reports that he had more skiers from afar than he had locals. Ski culture lives in the East, and dedicated folks rallied for the once-in-a-lifetime Halloween ski experience at White Grass. According to Chipper, he was able to patch things together at the last minute to get the ski area safe and ready in such short order and so early in the season. Of course, Chipper served up the legendary hospitality for which White Grass is famous. The bounty of snow has delivered two weekends of excellent skiing at White Grass. Here are few shots of the local scene . . . courtesey of the man himself, Chipper Chase . . .